In a healthy ear, earwax (cerumen), is produced in normal quantities and serves as a cleaning agent and also provides protection, lubrication, and antibacterial benefits. As earwax is produced, it moves along the ear canal to the opening of the ear, where it dries and flakes off. Since earwax is produced in the outer-third of the ear canal, and not close to the eardrum, the act of using cotton swabs interferes with the natural process of earwax removal, by pushing it further into the ear canal, blocking the eardrum.
In a perfect scenario, Ear Cleaning in Medina, OH, should not be necessary. However, if the earwax accumulates in sufficient quantities that it impairs hearing or produces other symptoms, then it should be addressed by a medical professional. This condition is known as cerumen impaction and may manifest itself in the form of an earache or feeling that the ear is plugged or full, decreased hearing, ringing in the ear, itching, discharge, or foul odor may be present.
Most cases of earwax blockage respond well to OTC treatment kits that soften the earwax. People with earwax blockage have also had success by placing a few drops of baby oil, glycerin, or mineral oil into the ear canal, as well. Using a few drops of hydrogen peroxide has also proved helpful in removing earwax.
When home treatment is not effective, then an ear cleaning in Medina, OH by a medical professional, should be performed. Depending on the blockage a physician may prescribe eardrops, perform irrigation, or remove the impaction manually. Irrigation solution is typically a mixture of saline and water heated to body temperature to provide comfort and prevent dizziness. Manual removal of severely impacted earwax is usually done by an otolaryngologist using a microscope for magnification along with specialized instruments and suction.
Prior to using any home treatments or OTC products, if there is any suspicion of a punctured eardrum, consult with a primary care provider before proceeding. Application of eardrops or other liquids when an eardrum is punctured can result in pain or cause an infection. Visit us to learn more about proper ear cleaning and common methods of preventing earwax impaction. Although recommended prevention methods are not absolutely proven, they are strongly recommended by medical professionals.